OTTUMWA — The last time Appanoose County's 12-year-old Little League squad played Ottumwa American, the Centerville squad bashed their way to a district championship.
Brayden Larkin was determined not to let it happen again. Larkin, who had two of American's three hits in last year's 16-3 district championship loss to Appanoose County, struck out nine batters on the mound working out of bases-loaded jams in two of the first three innings while adding two hits and scoring two runs in a 6-3 win on Sunday night that eliminated Appanoose County from the 2019 Iowa District 7 Little League baseball tournament.
Larkin kept Appanoose County off the board early, striking out the side in the top of the first after Appanoose County loaded the bases with no outs. After keeping the game scoreless, Larkin would collect American's first hit in the bottom of the first and score the first run on Landon Boney's two-run homer.
Larkin singled to open a two-run third inning for American when Maddux Kennedy collected a two-run double, opening a 4-0 lead. Appanoose County knocked out Larkin, who reached 86 pitches for the game during a three-run fourth inning rally, before Boney came on to record five more strikeouts over the final 2 1/3 innings. Larkin doubled off the fence in the fifth to drive in Carter Tullis before scoring on a run-scoring groundout by Draek Kennedy.
Ottumwa Little League, meanwhile, became the only district team to have both 10 and 12-year-old teams go 2-0 to open tournament play. The Ottumwa Little League 10-year-old squad outslugged Monroe County, 15-7, on Sunday night in Fairfield while the 12-year-old Little Leaguers rallied for an 8-2 win over Monroe County to also move within two wins of a state tournament bid.
Both the Ottumwa Little League 10 and 12-year-old squads will play Monday night in Fairfield with the 10-year-old team facing Lucas County, a 14-8 winner on Sunday in Ottumwa over Jefferson County. The Ottumwa Little League 12-year-old squad will face the home team, Jefferson County, who beat Lucas County 6-2 Sunday night.
The winner of the games in Fairfield will advance to the Iowa District Little League baseball championship games on Thursday night in Keosauqua. Also on Monday, the 10-year-old tournament will feature elimination games between Monroe County and Davis County in Chariton and Fox River against Jefferson County in Centerville. Ottumwa American will face Monroe County in one of the two 12-year-old elimination games Monday while Lucas County will face Je-Wa-Ke.
Scott Jackson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CourierScott.